Canadian Contractor


How to help a client maximize their small backyard

Tips for contractors to help your clients enjoy their outdoor spaces

The following sponsored post is brought to you by Deckorators.

Homeowners with small outdoor spaces shouldn’t have to miss out on big backyard perks to create a relaxing and inviting space for friends and family. Jase DeBoer, Senior Category Marketing Manager at Deckorators, offers advice for how you can work with your clients to help them make the most of a small area.

Understand Client Needs

The first step is understanding your client’s vision. Whether it be entertaining, dining or lounging, it’s important to have this preliminary discussion to ensure you address wants and needs. This will help structure your recommendations, whether for a deck, patio or terrace, and shape the dimensions that will work best. It will also help decide elements like shading, lighting and storage. Consider using an online visualizer like the Deckorators 3D Deck Visualizer to bring concepts and ideas to life. Use the tool to show your clients various deck design techniques, including picture framing, unique shapes and multi-level decks. There’s also an option to upload a photo of your client’s house for a true representation of the outcome. Once the 3D design is finalized, download a full report that includes a materials list for your reference.

Multifunctional Designs

Photo by Jon Deagle – Tara Hill Construction

Photo by Deckorators

Photo by Deckorators

There’s an abundance of new products that can solve storage dilemmas common to small outdoor spaces. Consider building deck drawers as well as bench seating with storage to optimize limited deck space. Entertain with a deck rail table perfect for dining or even a drink station. It’s easy to install and remove, depending on client needs. Another option for multi-functional railings is to employ a deck board as the top rail; not only is this option on-trend, but it also creates added space for a cocktail rail to rest a drink.

Shade Solutions

Photo by Joel Boyer – Unique Deck Builders

Photo by All Decked Out

Work with your client to protect their small deck or patio space from the elements. Depending on how much cover your client prefers, there are plenty of customizable options that will help keep them shielded. A popular and attractive option is constructing a pergola, as it’s a versatile piece that provides a touch of shade, privacy and protection that can be custom designed for a small backyard. Pergolas can be attached to the home or free-standing, plus they are perfect for hanging lights or plants for added whimsy. If clients are looking for greater coverage in their small space, fabric canopies can be a solution, either added to the pergola or on their own.

Ambient Lighting

Photo by Deckorators

Functional lighting is key to illuminating any backyard space and the right lighting makes a small backyard cozy and intimate. Help your clients find products that will increase visibility and safety without being too harsh in a small area. Direct your clients towards low-voltage lighting accents like Luna Step Lights paired with the Luna 2.5” Post Caps that will instantly transform their backyard, allowing them to enjoy their space well into the evening.

Deck Design

Photo by Deckorators

There is plenty of opportunity to define a small backyard space, and creative deck design is a great starting point. When done well this approach can give a modest yard the illusion of a larger space. Create subtle transitions for different areas using the deck pattern itself. Consider incorporating a chevron or herringbone style in the deck or patio layout. This can be integrated in the entire deck space or as a small inlay section under dining or lounging locations. Pairing a landing deck with a hardscape patio can make the most of limited greenspace, define it and, provide areas to entertain and for a barbeque or fire pit.

As a contractor, consider investing in your own decking knowledge and skills through Deckorators Certified Pro program. The program give access to training courses, resources and product promotions. This knowledge will guide you when working with small or unusual spaces, helping you to design and create beautiful and functional spaces fit for a range of client needs.


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